‘Cong did greatest harm to OBCs’, says Amit Shah in Lok Sabha
Shah alleged that historically, the Congress has opposed the welfare of the backward classes and has only resorted to lip-service for such communities.
The Congress has done the "greatest harm" to Other Backward Classes (OBCs) over the years and done nothing for their welfare, Union Home Minister Amit Shah alleged on Wednesday and asserted that it is Prime Minister Narendra Modi who has relentlessly worked for their overall development.
Replying to a debate in the Lok Sabha on the Jammu and Kashmir Reservation (Amendment) Bill and the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation (Amendment) Bill, Shah said Modi was born into a poor family and became prime minister, and he knows the pain of the backward classes and the poor.
The home minister also lashed out at the opposition party, saying if any party has harmed backward classes and come in the way of their growth, it is the Congress.
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"The Congress has done greatest harm to OBCs. The party has done nothing for the welfare of the OBCs. It is Prime Minister Narendra Modi who has been working relentlessly for the welfare of backward classes," he said.
Shah alleged that historically, the Congress has opposed the welfare of the backward classes and has only resorted to lip-service for such communities. The Congress only chants the name of backward classes but does not support any welfare measures for them, he claimed.
"I say this with full responsibility, this is the historic truth. If any party has opposed the welfare of the backward classes, then it is the Congress," he said.
The home minister said it was the Congress government that had delayed the report of the Kakasaheb Kalelkar Commission, which was set up to investigate the conditions of socially and educationally backward classes.
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"Many Congress leaders chant 'backward class'. Then there are some who are given a piece of paper and they keep reading it for six months until handed over a fresh piece of paper. They visit gram sabhas chanting the name of backward classes. They do not know what their party has done. Who sat on the Kaka Kalelkar report," he said.
Shah said even the Mandal Commission report granting reservation to the OBCs was implemented when the Congress was voted out of power. "Then too it was the then leader of the opposition -- Rajiv Gandhi -- who had opposed the move," he said.
His sharp attack on the Congress over the OBC issue came against the backdrop of the grand old party making caste census an issue during the assembly elections to five states, which were held last month.
The Congress lost the elections in key states of Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh.
Since the election results on Sunday, the BJP has been attacking the Congress for trying to divide the country on caste and religious lines.
Congress-led governments have never bothered to grant Constitutional status to the OBC Commission, Shah said.
"The Congress never granted reservation to OBCs in central education schemes," he said.
Shah asserted it was under Modi's leadership that OBCs were granted reservation in Sainik schools, NEET and in central schools to study with dignity. Prime Minister Modi also ensured 10 per cent quota for economically weaker sections from unreserved classes, he said.
Through the Jammu and Kashmir Reservation (Amendment) Bill, the central government wants to change the nomenclature of the term "weak and underprivileged classes (social castes)" to "other backward classes" for getting reservation benefits in the Union Territory
The law will ensure reservation for the OBCs in appointment and admission in professional institutions in Jammu and Kashmir, Shah said.
The proposed amendments have been initiated on the recommendations of the Jammu and Kashmir Socially and Educationally Backward Classes Commission (SEBCC), so as to remove the confusion among the general public as well as the competent authorities issuing certificates to eligible persons due to difference in such nomenclature, noted the statement of objects and reasons.